The Legal Ombudsman (an independent complaints body which investigates complaints from consumers about their legal service providers in England and Wales) is introducing updated Scheme Rules, effective from 1st April 2023.
A key change relates to the timescale to refer complaints to the Legal Ombudsman – this is reducing to within 1 year from the date of the act or omission about which you are concerned or within 1 year from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint. The requirement to refer complaints to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of receiving a final response from the firm about a complaint will remain the same under the new Rules.
The Legal Ombudsman will have discretion to extend the timescale beyond 1 year where it considers it would be fair and reasonable to do so, however this will not be a given and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
For more information, please refer to our internal Complaints Procedure. To view the Rules in full, please see the Scheme Rules on the Legal Ombudsman’s website.
As a firm, we pride ourselves on the standard of service and legal advice we give to all our clients. The firm’s policy on the service we aim to give to our clients can be summed up as – “To ensure that all clients receive a service which meets or exceed their expectations”.
Client Care Charter
As a firm, we pride ourselves on the standard of service and legal advice we give to all our clients. The firm’s policy on the service we aim to give to our clients can be summed up as -“To ensure that all clients receive a service which meets or exceed their expectations”.
OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU
We will :
- Agree with you in advance the level of service you require
- Represent your interests
- Keep your business confidential
- Discuss with you what you hope to achieve and advise you of a realistic and achievable outcome
- Give you clear legal advice that you can understand
- Ensure you understand the likely degree of financial risk involved in pursuing your instructions
- Advise you if it appears you are eligible for Legal Aid and how this will affect you
- Advise you of our estimate of costs in writing. If a fixed fee is more appropriate we will agree with you, in writing, the basis of our charges and the likely total cost. If this is not possible, we will explain the basis of our charges and give you a general forecast with a possible range of costs OR explain why a forecast is not possible but indicate a costs estimate with and any increases
- As matters progress we will regularly confirm, in writing, the cost that has been incurred (including money paid to others on your behalf and VAT)
- Keep you informed of progress and, where no action is required by us for a period of time, explain to you when you are likely to next hear from us
- Endeavour to deal with your questions within a reasonable timescale
- Endeavour to reply to your letters within seven working days (involved or detailed responses may be preceded by an acknowledgment saying when a full reply will follow
- Value your comments about our service. If you feel at any time that you are not receiving the service you hoped for, please tell us immediately. We want your suggestions that may help us to improve the service we give to all our clients.
HOW YOU, AS OUR CLIENT, CAN HELP US
To enable us to do our very best for you, teamwork is necessary. This involves us working together at all times, but most importantly, we have to rely on you telling us things we need to know or providing us with documents when we ask for them.
Therefore please :
- Bring all relevant papers with you to your first appointment or, if in doubt, bring what you think may help us
- Please ensure you provide evidence of identity. We need a minimum of 1 document with photographic evidence and 1 document with evidence of your address (eg passport /utility bill)
- Tell us if you have any special needs or requirements relating to the service you wish to receive
- Tell us how you want to communicate with you, eg post/email/telephone
- Let us know at the start of our relationship what you expect of us so that we can agree with you what is possible to achieve
- If your expectations change at any time, please tell us immediately
- Tell us if you have personal time limits or targets which would not be obvious to us
- Satisfy yourself that you always understand what we have discussed. If you are unsure, please tell us.
- Contact us quickly if we ask you for instructions, documents or information
- Tell us if you change address or telephone number or if your circumstances are affected in a way that may impact on the way we deal with your matter
- Continue to provide us with up-to-date evidence of your income/financial circumstances
- If you wish us to speak to someone on your behalf, or discuss your case with another person, eg a family member,please tell us in advance as we will need your authority to do so.
Our responsibilities include advising you on the law, following your instructions, reviewing your matter regularly and discussing with you whether the potential outcomes justify the expense and risks involved with your matter.
As part of our commitment to improving the service we provide, we send our clients this Feedback Questionnaire.
18 Cardiff Road
Caerphilly CF83 1JN
Tel: 02920 864888
Fax: 02920 863912
29 Bedwlwyn Road
Hengoed CF82 7AA
Tel: 01443 816622
Fax: 01443 812097
Complaints Procedure Information Sheet (as from 1st April 2023)
We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to our clients. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to sort out any mistakes or misunderstandings, and to improve our standards.
Please be assured that your complaint will be dealt with promptly, fairly and free of charge.
In most cases, an informal chat with the lawyer responsible for your matter will resolve your concerns.
If it does not, you can formalise your complaint or speak to someone other than the lawyer responsible for your matter. Our Complaints Manager, Mrs Rhiannon Street, can record everything you are unhappy about and recommend the best solution for you.
You can contact Mrs Rhiannon Street in writing at –
29 Bedwlwyn Road,
Or by email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Or by telephone – 01443 816622
What we need to know
To deal with your complaint correctly, it would be helpful when contacting us if you could provide the following information:
- Your name, contact details and preferred contact method
- File reference number
- Details of your concerns
- How you would like us to put things right.
What will happen next?
1. If you telephone us, we will endeavour to resolve the issue in that call.
2. If you email or write to us, or if your complaint cannot be resolved in a phone call, we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint in writing within two working days of receiving it.
3. We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve our Complaints Manager reviewing your file and speaking to the member of staff who acted for you.
4. Within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter our Complaints Manager will invite you to a meeting to discuss and resolve your complaint. You may choose to have the meeting in-person, by telephone or by video call.
5. Within three working days of the meeting, our Complaints Manager will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions we have agreed with you.
6. In any case she will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including her suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the written acknowledgement of your complaint referred to in paragraph 1 above.
7. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again and we will arrange for another partner to review the decision.
8. We will write to you within 14 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasoning.
9. If we have to change any of these timescales, we will let you know, explain why and seek your agreement before proceeding.
What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint
10. If you have exhausted our internal escalation process yet remain dissatisfied, or a period of eight weeks has expired since we acknowledged your complaint without our final response being received, you are entitled to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman will look at the complaint independently and any investigation by them will not affect how we handle your case.
11. Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check:
- you have tried to resolve the complaint with us in the first instance and
- you have suffered significant financial loss, distress, inconvenience or detriment, which deems it proportionate for them to investigate.
We will always be happy to discuss your issues further, prior to you going down this route, if you wish to do so.
12. For complaints about our service, including billing issues, you may contact the Legal Ombudsman via one of the methods below:
- Phone: 0300 5550333
- Email: email@example.com
- Post: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV19 9WJ
13. Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of the date of our final written response to your complaint. You should also be aware that the Ombudsman will consider your complaint if you refer it on to them within either of the following:
- one year from the date of the act or omission being complained about OR
- one year from the date when you should reasonably have known that there was cause for complaint.
The Ombudsman has discretion to extend the one year time limit for specific customers if, on the evidence, it is fair and reasonable to do so.
14. Note that the Legal Ombudsman service cannot be used by businesses or most other organisations, unless they are below certain size limits. Further details are available from the Legal Ombudsman’s website.
15. It is worth considering, whilst it is open to you to submit a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, they apply strict criteria to determine whether they will ultimately accept a complaint for a full investigation. They have the discretion to dismiss or discontinue all or part of a complaint if they believe:
a) it does not have any reasonable prospects of success.
b) you have not suffered (and are unlikely to suffer) significant financial loss, distress, inconvenience or detriment.
c) it is frivolous, vexatious, lacks merit or where there is a compelling reason not to accept it.
d) the likely impact, size, complexity, scope, volume of evidence or your conduct render it disproportionate/unreasonable/impossible for the complaint to be investigated.
e) you have previously complained about the same issue to them, unless you provide material evidence that is likely to affect the outcome which only became available to you after you submitted the original complaint.
f) there has been undue delay in the complaint being raised.
a) If, during the course of an ongoing investigation by the Ombudsman, a revised/increased offer is made by us which is deemed to be fair and reasonable redress and you decide to reject that offer, the Ombudsman has the discretion to dismiss or discontinue all or part of your complaint.
b) If you have already accepted an offer to settle your complaint made by us during our internal complaint handling process, which is deemed to be fair and reasonable redress, unless there has been some significant intervening act, you will not be able to have that agreement overturned in the hope of securing a preferential outcome by pursuing your complaint via the Ombudsman.
For more information on the Legal Ombudsman’s rules and requirements, please see their Scheme Rules dated April 2023.
What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour
16. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (‘SRA’) can help if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
17. Visit the ‘Reporting an individual or firm’ page of their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the SRA.
What to do if your complaint relates to an insurance policy
18. If your unresolved complaint relates to an insurance policy covering your case, you may contact the Financial Ombudsman Service:
- Phone: 0800 023 4567
- Online complaint forms available via their website
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Post: Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower. Harbour Exchange. London. E14 9SR.
What to do if your complaint remains unresolved
19. If a complaint cannot be resolved, you may also be able to ask for it to be referred to a process of alternative dispute resolution using a certified provider. We are not required to agree to such a request. In any case this is not available to businesses, only consumers. We will give you more information about that right if it becomes relevant.
Caswell Jones is committed to equality and diversity. This relates to all aspects in our treatment of staff, recruitment of staff, clients and third parties with whom we work.
Our employees are asked to complete a survey so that we can monitor and report on the diversity within our workforce.
Click here to view the Equality and Diversity Statistics
Equality and Diversity Communications Plan
Caswell Jones is committed to equality and diversity. This relates to all aspects in our treatment of staff, recruitment of staff, clients and third parties with whom we work.
External Communications Plan
Modern Slavery Act
Equality and Diversity Statistics.
1. The content and information on this website is as accurate as possible at the date of the last review but it is subject to change without notice. Legislation may change from day to day and you should therefore not rely on the accuracy of the website. The website is intended to give general information and does not constitute legal advice. Should you require legal advice, please contact one of our offices. Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own risk to ensure that any products, services or information available through this website meets your specific requirements. This firm will not accept responsibility in the event that you act on the information given on this website without contacting us for formal legal advice. All liability is disclaimed in such circumstances.
2. We do not provide any guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness or suitability of the information and materials found or offered on this website for any particular purpose. You acknowledge that such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law.
3. This website contains material which is owned by or licenced by us. This material includes, but is not limited to, the design, layout, look, appearance and graphics.
4. Unauthorised use of this website may give rise to a claim for damages and/or be a criminal offence.
5. Links to other websites – from time to time, this website may include links to other websites which you may find useful. This firm is not responsible for the material contained in those websites, does not endorse or recommend those sites, and accepts no responsibility for information provided by them.
6. Links from other websites – we are generally happy to allow links to our website from other websites provided that permission is given in advance.
7. This firm makes every effort to ensure that electronic material downloadable from this website is virus-free but we cannot accept liability in the event that any virus causes loss or damage and advise that, for your own protection, you use virus-checking software when using this website.
8. Governing law – the use of this website is governed by English law and any dispute in relation to it will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.
9. Variations – we reserve the right to vary or amend these terms and conditions at any time and all such variations and amendments will be effective immediately upon being made available via this website.
10. Privacy Notice – If you provide us with any personal data while using this website we may use it to provide you with any information or services you have requested. We may also use it for any other purpose for which you give your consent. For example we may send you additional information about the firm or its services, if you have consented to us doing so.
This Policy explains how we use, keep and protect your personal data. You should also read our Terms of Business which can be found on our website.
Caswell Jones Privacy Notice
As a law firm, we are bound by regulatory and professional obligations to uphold the confidentiality of personal information. The following privacy notice sets out what types of personal data we hold and how we store and secure such data. It also tells you who we share this information with, the security mechanisms we have put in place to secure your data and how to contact us if you have a complaint.
1. Who we are?
Caswell Jones collects, uses and is responsible for personal information about you and therefore we are committed to protecting your personal information. When we do this, we are the ‘controller’ of this information for the purposes of the UK General Data Protection (UK GDPR) and other applicable data protection laws.
Our Contact Details
Name: Caswell Jones Solicitors
Address: Portcullis House, 18 Cardiff Road, Caerphilly, CF83 1JN.
Phone Number: 029 2086 4888
2. What do we do with your information?
2.1 Information collected by us:
When carrying out legal services, we may collect and use a wide range of personal data about you such as (but not limited to) the following:
- your contact details such as name, address, telephone number and email address
- copies of identifying documentation
- your date of birth
- your gender
- where you are our client, we will collect information about your circumstances that have led to you using our services
- your marital status and dependants, plus next of kin and emergency contact information
- financial information including your National Insurance number, bank account details, salary and payroll records, tax, pension and benefits information.
2.2 Information collected from other sources:
We may collect the following information from other sources:
- employment records (including job titles, work history, working hours, training records and professional memberships)
- GP and health records
- Police records
- Public records
- photographs and CCTV footage
3. How we will use your personal data
Personal data includes, but is not limited to, any information in electronic or paper copy that identifies you and includes special categories of data which is sensitive to you.
When you instruct our firm, we will use your personal information in order to advise you on the matter in which you have instructed us and also to deal with any feedback or complaints that you may have.
4. Whether information has to be provided by you, and why?
Personal information must be provided by you to us, to enable us to act for you and carry out your instructions. When we collect information from you, we will inform you whether you are required to provide this information to us.
If you choose not to provide us with certain personal data, you should be aware that we may decide that we are unable to offer you certain services or we have to stop acting for you.
5. Where the Information is Stored
All personal information is stored at our offices on our IT Systems, and we also have paper files, which are stored securely in our offices.
Staff undergo regular data and information security training and cyber security training. Our systems are protected by virus software and are regularly updated in order to ensure the continued protection of these systems. All systems are backed up and information contained on electronic devices that are taken out of the office eg: to Court, are password protected and encrypted.
6. Legal Reasons for Collecting and Using Personal Information
Once you instruct our firm, you will enter a contractual relationship with us where you agree to our Terms of Business. Therefore, the collecting, using and storing of personal information is required for our firm to be able to assist you with your matter.
We are bound by legal and regulatory duties to collect copies of personal identification and to store them on your personal file. This includes ID, personal data and other information we may require to conduct due diligence on you to confirm your identity. We also instruct a Government Accredited Identification Checker to check identifications. Failure to provide the requested information will result in the firm being unable to provide our services to you.
7. Who will we share your Sharing Personal Information
We may need to share your personal information with other professional bodies such as (but not limited to) Counsel, Doctors, Mortgage Companies, the Court. We may (but usually do not) need your consent to use your personal information. We will not share your personal information with unnecessary third parties. Such third parties are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your information. We do not sell, rent or otherwise make personal information commercially available to any third party. You can withdraw your consent at any time.
The firm uses a ‘switchboard’ telephone answering services, as part of this procedure you will be asked to provide personal details so that the Receptionist can allocate you to the correct person in the firm to discuss your matter. Where the allocated individual is unable to take your call, a telephone note is taken and immediately given to the person who will call you back.
However, we will share personal information with public authorities such as, the police or the court, if required by the applicable law.
We are required by regulatory bodies, such as the Legal Aid Agency to complete audits of our files to ensure that we are complying with regulations but where we share your personal information, we will ensure that appropriate data protection arrangements are in place.
We also hold internal audits of all files to ensure that each file is compliant with our quality standards and privacy and data protection policies.
8. Transfer of Information to Other Countries
We have two firms in the South Wales area and do not have any offices abroad, therefore, we have no reason to transfer your personal data outside of the United Kingdom unless you live outside of the UK.
9. Your Data Protection Rights
Under the UK GDPR you have a number of important rights that you are entitled to exercise free of charge. In summary, these rights are:
- Transparency – over how we use your personal data and fair processing of your information.
- Access – to your personal information and other supplementary information.
- Rectification – require us to correct any mistakes or complete missing information we hold on you.
- Erasure – require us to erase your personal information in certain circumstances; Receive a copy of the personal information you have provided to us or have this information sent to a third party, this will be provided to you or the third party in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- Object – at any time to processing of your personal information for direct marketing.
- Object – in certain other situations to the continued processing of your personal information.
- Restriction – Restrict our processing of your personal information in certain circumstances.
- Data portability – ask that we transfer the information you gave us to another organisation, or to you, in certain circumstances.
- Request – not to be subject to automated decision making which produce legal effects that concern you or affect you in a significantly similar way.
10. Retention of Personal Information After the Matter has Closed.
We are required to keep your personal information for a minimum period of 6 years. However, depending on the matter in which you instruct us, we may keep your personal information for a significant period if there is a legitimate reason for us to do so. For example, if your matter concerns a will, or children, or property matters.
Where there is no longer any need to retain your personal data, we will securely erase this.
11. Data Protection Officers
We do not have a Data Protection Officer but we do have a Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP), who is Mrs Rhiannon Street. She will implement our data protection policy and practices. Her details are:
Mrs Rhiannon Street, Portcullis House, 18 Cardiff Road, Caerphilly, CF83 1JN.
For the purposes of data protection legislation, the data controller is Caswell Jones Solicitors whose office is:
Caswell Jones Solicitors, Portcullis House, 18 Cardiff Road, Caerphilly, CF83 1JN.
12. Feedback, Complaints and Queries
If you have any queries or complaints in relation to our use of personal data, please contact in the first instance, Mrs Rhiannon Street
13. Future Processing
This privacy notice was last updated on the 16th January 2023. We constantly review our internal privacy practices and may change this policy from time to time.
We do not intend to process your personal information for any reason other than stated within this privacy notice. If this changes, we will inform you in writing.